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Tiger talk: A look ahead for Mizzou

October 17, 2017 GMT

COMING THIS WEEK

For just the second time since 1985 but also the second year in a row, Missouri hosts a nonconference opponent for homecoming, the Idaho Vandals (2-4) of the Sun Belt Conference. Coached by Paul Petrino, younger brother of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, the Vandals will reclassify to the Football Championship Subdivision level in 2018. Idaho is coming off a nine-win bowl season but has struggled in recent years against Power Five competition, losing last year to Washington 59-14 and Washington State 56-6. This fall, the Vandals’ only wins have come against Sacramento State and South Alabama; Idaho is coming off close home losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and Appalachian State.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Quarterback Matt Linehan’s last name should sound familiar in St. Louis. The Idaho quarterback is the son of former Rams head coach Scott Linehan, now the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator. Scott Linehan, Rams coach from 2006-08, played quarterback at Idaho in the 1980s and later coached there on staff with Paul Petrino in the 1990s. Matt Linehan, who was in junior high when his dad coached the Rams, has thrown for 1,275 yards and nine touchdowns in six games. He’s the school’s career leader for pass completions and ranks among the Vandals’ top five in passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. Both of his uncles, Ron and Rick Linehan, were standout defensive players at Idaho in the 1970s.

HE SAID IT

“We’re capable of being a good offense. That’s something we’ve talked about inside this room with our players. We have to be better. It’s not all 11 — every single player — being better. It’s one or two guys. Offensive football is all 11 players operating as one. We have to do our job at a higher level.” — Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel

INJURIES

Missouri running back Damarea Crockett came out of Saturday’s loss at Georgia with a right shoulder injury and is expected to be limited in practice this week. If he’s held out of Saturday’s game, Ish Witter and Larry Rountree III will handle the carries. Strong safety Anthony Sherrils has missed the last two games while recovering from a concussion but is expected to return this week.

SERIES HISTORY

Missouri and Idaho have met twice but not since 1963, when Dan Devine’s Tigers beat the Vandals 24-0 in Columbia. In 1958, Missouri won a closer game, 14-10 in Columbia.

Dave Matter